Rudy: 'I Am NOT Hillary'
Republican Debate on Fox News, October 21, 2007:
Mayor Giuliani believes in federal funding for abortion. He believes in sanctuary cities. He's for gun control...He sides with Hillary Clinton on each of those issues just mentioned...
The point seems to be that on a lot of the social issues, like abortion and gay rights and gun control, that there's not much difference between you and Clinton. Is there?
You have got to be kidding.
So who is kidding who here? Do Rudy and Hillary share similar positions on social issues, or don't they?
In Republican party politics, particularly during primary season, getting lumped together with Hillary Clinton is the kiss of death. Giuliani adroitly pushed aside the poisoned chalice offered by Thompson and Chris Wallace by making a joke of it. The former New York mayor sought to leave the impression that his points of agreement with the Democratic senator from New York were limited to the fact that they were both "Yankee fans." And even on that point, he drew a distinction. "I became a Yankee fan growing up in New York. She became a Yankee fan growing up in Chicago."
The Giuliani campaign was so pleased with this riposte that they posted it on You Tube.
The laughter distracted attention from a serious question. As anyone who has been following the campaign closely knows, Giuliani is not a typical "values Republican." Over the years, he has taken a series of positions on social issues that are not too different from middle-of-the-road Democratic candidates. Let's take a look at them:
Giuliani and Clinton positions compared:
|Gun control||Says New York gun control laws helped make New York City the "safest" big city in the United States.||Supports gun control. Supported Giuliani's 2000 lawsuit against gun manufacturers.|
|Abortion||Says abortions are "wrong," but supports the "constitutional right" of women to have abortions, and some public funding.||Describes abortion as "a tragic choice," but supports public funding for abortions in some cases.|
|Gay rights||Says marriage should be "between a man and a woman," but supports domestic partnerships.||Supports civil unions, but says states should decide on gay marriages.|
|Immigration||As mayor of New York, permitted illegal immigrants to report crimes and enroll their children in public schools.||Opposes illegal immigration, but voted against denying social security benefits to illegal aliens.|
Giuliani has modified his positions on social issues in some subtle ways since launching his campaign for the presidency. For example, he earlier opposed a ban on late-term abortions, so-called partial-birth abortions, saying that the choice should be left to "the woman because it affects her probably more than anyone else." (Meet the Press, February 6, 2000.) In April 2007, he praised the Supreme Court for upholding a congressional ban on such abortions. The abortion rights group NARAL accused him of doing "a 180-degree pivot on his former position."
The mayor has also shifted on gun rights, distancing himself from his own 2000 lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Giuliani claims that the lawsuit has taken various "turns and twists" he does not agree with, but has not been specific. See our analysis of his changing position here. He told the National Rifle Association last month that he supports a measure designed to block access to gun trace data in civil suits.
On gay rights, Giuliani earlier said that gays should be permitted to serve in the military "on the merits," based on their ability to "handle the pressures" rather than their "sexual orientation. (Meet the Press, February 6, 2000.) More recently, he has said that a "time of war" is not the right time to "make fundamental changes like this." (Republican debate, June 3, 2007.) (Clinton has called for an end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy initiated by her husband.)
The Pinocchio Test
Despite some recent shifts in his position, Giuliani still remains fairly close to Hillary Clinton on social issues, such as gun control, abortion, and gay rights. While there are differences in the details of their proposed policies, the former mayor and the senator for New York have more in common than shared enthusiasm for the Yankees.
Giuliani is an effective debater. On this occasion, his debating skills and ability to make his audience laugh helped conceal a political sleight of hand. We award him two Pinocchios for "significant omissions and/or exaggerations."
| October 23, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: 2 Pinocchios, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Social Issues
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